Written on: 28/10/2009 by wwarby (10 reviews written)
I bought this tripod when I got my first SLR camera two years ago and have just replaced it with a £350 Manfrotto carbon fibre model. For what I paid for this tripod (under £20) it served me about as well as could be expected, which is to say, not very well. After a few months the head got quite stiff making any attempt at small movements or panning impossible, and no amount of oil changed this because the head is just cheap plastic rubbing against cheap plastic. After a few more months the whole head assembly started to loosen up such that the lock for sideways panning no longer locked the head, and after two years of use, the head is now so loose that I have to position the head facing about a full frame higher than where I want my shot to be, because gravity pulls the loose head downwards, and a light breeze is enough to blow the head from side to side. I have used the tripod on perhaps 25-30 days out and a few hundred exposures with the relatively heavy Olympus E-3 SLR camera but typically just a light 12-60mm lens. Hardly punishment worthy of the state it is now in.
Aside from the serious durability issues, the plastic hook for ballast is flimsy - I don't trust it though to hang my camera bag from it, and the leg spreading apparatus in the centre of the tripod, whilst convenient, prevents the legs spreading widely which means getting lower than about 2ft from the ground is impossible. Also, the latch for portrait mode gets in the way of itself, meaning you can only get about 85 degrees towards vertical so you have to shorten one of the legs to achieve a level portrait shot.
I only bought this tripod as a stopgap to see if I took to my new photography hobby before buying a "real" tripod. I did take to it, and I eventually jumped about 10 steps on the tripod quality ladder.
The TP-2800 is a serviceable tripod for occasional use with a light SLR camera or perhaps holding up a remote flash unit, but don't fool yourself into thinking there's not much difference between this cheap and cheerful model and something in the mid range. Consider it a short term solution only until you can afford something better.
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